In September I want to talk about relationships - people who are most meaningful and impact us. How many people are in your circle? It's hard to imagine being alone in the world or completely unable to help loved ones in need. To start the reflections on relationships, I want to take a day to look at those who have no one to call them their own.
Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. In June the NY Times reported that, "In the past year, the government of President Álvaro Colom has been handling a hunger crisis after the worst drought in three decades." This meant that when the country was hit by Hurricane Agatha late in May, the country "was ill prepared for the tandem disasters, lacking food reserves to feed flood victims, relief workers said." In a country where reserves were already low and daily life already bending under the weight of poverty, the storm was a deadly blow. The day before it hit, Pacaya volcano erupted, leaving ash behind to mix with the deadly weather system. Lives were lost and many more were displaced.
Natural disasters wreak havoc on relationships, but they often leave the most vulnerable among us, infants and children, without anyone to all their own.
The Hope of Life Baby Rescue Center has been a haven for severely malnourished infants rescued from jungles, many abandoned, and others brought by desperate mothers needing help for their children. Some children arrive with birth defects, cleft palates, or serious illnesses. The mission World Help reports that, "Many children have been restored to health and returned to their families and communities as healthy, happy young children. Others must remain for months, if not years ..." Many more infants have been abandoned or rescued in the aftermath of the storm, and Hope of Life Baby Rescue Center is stretching every resource to meet the needs of these little ones who have no one.
In our church nursery this past Sunday, we had 4 cribs, multiple swings, two changing tables, and two rocking chairs. It was one of many rooms in the hallway. There were 6 babies and 4 workers in our room. We have SO much. I have never been abandoned or hopelessly lost in a natural disaster or without basic necessities. I have always had someone in the world who felt it was their role to care for me. I have much to be thankful for, so when World Help announced a Baby Shower to help provide for the vulnerable children at Hope of Life Rescue Center, I wanted to pass this invitation along. Psalms tells us God is the father to the fatherless and their defender. Proverbs says so much about how we treat the poor:
- Proverbs 19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.
- Proverbs 22:9 A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.
- Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.
- Proverbs 31:20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
The Home needs basic items like cribs, swings, high chairs, bottles, bibs, etc. Right now, they have ONE rocking chair for everyone. Read that again. ONE rocking chair. Many sick babies share cribs. Target is partnering with World Hope to throw a Baby Shower that wraps up Sept. 15. Until then, you can click here or here to be part of the shower to buy a gift online; gifts will be shipped by Target directly to World Help's warehouse in Rhode Island and then on to Guatemala. Read more about the project here.
Do you have a special relationship you would love to share about? I'm excited to tell you about some of mine and hear about yours. And because we are "rich" in relationships, I'm excited to kick off the month with gifts of gratitude to the needy children of Guatemala. I hope you'll join me.